among them, and presently a sweet, innocent-looking, lovingly roguish little fellow handed me a huge green apple. Silence fell on the noisy throng; all waited expectant.
' Eat, good giant,' he said.
I sat up, took the apple, smiled thanks, and would have eaten; but the moment I bit into it, I flung it far away.
Again rose a shout of delight ; they flung themselves upon me, so as nearly to smother me; they kissed my face and hands; they laid hold of my legs; they clambered about my arms and shoulders, embracing my head and neck. I came to the ground at last, overwhelmed with the lovely little goblins.
' Good, good giant!' they cried. ' We knew you would come ! Oh you dear, good, strong giant! '
The babble of their talk sprang up afresh, and ever the jubilant shout would rise anew from hundreds of clear little throats.
Again came a sudden silence. Those around me drew back; those atop of me got off and began trying to set me on my feet. Upon their sweet faces, concern had taken the place of merriment.
' Get up, good giant!' said a little girl. Make haste! much haste ! He saw you throw his apple away! '
Before she ended, I was on my feet. She stood pointing up the slope. On the brow of it was a clownish, bad-looking fellow, a few inches taller than myself. He looked hostile, but I saw no reason to fear him, for he had no weapon, and my little friends had vanished every one.
He began to descend, and I, in the hope of better